Human Rights Violator Sponsored Superbowl

  • #1
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5013830.stm


Rubber manufacturer Firestone has been accused of buying rubber from plantations illegally occupied by ex-combatants from Liberia's civil war.

It is one of three companies that the Liberian government and the United Nations have accused of profiting from the illegal rubber-tapping.

Their report says human rights are being violated at plantations across the West African country.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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If they are found guilty, I hope they get more than a slap on the wrist. I'm talking jail time. People need to understand that this stuff is NOT okay to do.

Right now all you have to do is set up a company and suddenly you can get away with theft and murder. Great.
 
  • #3
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Big business gets away with whatever it wants....very unfortunately.
 
  • #4
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boycott firestone!!!!
 
  • #5
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Ok, and you can probably boycott everything else made in India, Mexico, and China while your at it.

Id like to know more about the companies involvement before I pass judgement. So far, it seems they simply bought a product. I dont see any knowledge or support of these places by firestone in the article.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
Mentor
20,865
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If they are found guilty, I hope they get more than a slap on the wrist. I'm talking jail time. People need to understand that this stuff is NOT okay to do.

Right now all you have to do is set up a company and suddenly you can get away with theft and murder. Great.
Jail time for what, exactly? US law does not extend past the borders of other countries.
 
  • #8
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http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?reportid=58109

IRIN BTW is part of the UN.

Angry workers have downed tools at Liberia’s largest rubber plantation, owned by Bridgestone/Firestone, saying that wages are so low that children as young as seven years old are being forced to help their parents meet production quotas.

In December, a group of Liberian human rights groups in partnership with the US-based International Labour Rights Fund (ILRF) filed a lawsuit in the United States against Bridgestone/Firestone, saying “thousands of workers, including minors, toil in virtual slavery at Bridgestone/Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia.”



Ever see the movie blood diamond? Yeah, buying bridgestone tires is almost similar to buying a blood diamond.
 
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
20,865
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Interpol?
Nope.
In order to maintain as politically neutral a role as possible, Interpol's constitution forbids its involvement in crimes that do not overlap several member countries[2], or in any political, military, religious, or racial crimes.[3] Its work focuses primarily on public safety, terrorism, organized crime, war crimes, illicit drug production, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, trafficking in human beings, money laundering, child pornography, white-collar crime, computer crime, intellectual property crime and corruption.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpol


A country's bad labor laws are not the domain of Interpol.
 
  • #10
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Oh. In that case, let's keep exploiting them.
 
  • #11
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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Oh. In that case, let's keep exploiting them.

There's quite a difference between pointing out that no laws that would demand jail time have been broken and saying that exploitation of workers should continue.

Several questions come to my mind, such as whether Firestone had explicit knowledge of what was going on, if they are the ONLY tire company buying from these sources, if conditions are as bad as the story claims or just disgruntled workers readying for a strike, etc. The article says they have been "accused," not that it's proven they really have done so as well. That's a pretty hefty accusation to toss around without some independent verification first.
 
  • #12
mgb_phys
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
7,819
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Jail time for what, exactly? US law does not extend past the borders of other countries.
I do wish the US goverment would realise this sometimes.

There was a similair campaing in the UK to boycott the oil company BP - it was using private armies in Africa to kill people protesting agaist oil exploration - the protest cost them a few 0.00000% of their profits.
 
  • #13
Human Rights Violator Sponsored Superbowl

Was it the U.S. government? Oh, snap! :tongue2:

I love how the 21st century begins with the U.S. apologizing to Germany for torturing people in secret prisons in Poland. Thanks alot, GWB.
 
  • #14
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There's quite a difference between pointing out that no laws that would demand jail time have been broken and saying that exploitation of workers should continue.

Several questions come to my mind, such as whether Firestone had explicit knowledge of what was going on, if they are the ONLY tire company buying from these sources, if conditions are as bad as the story claims or just disgruntled workers readying for a strike, etc. The article says they have been "accused," not that it's proven they really have done so as well. That's a pretty hefty accusation to toss around without some independent verification first.

http://www.insd.uscourts.gov/Opinions/AP6270O1.pdf [Broken]

Plaintiffs are adults and children who work on a rubber plantation in the
West African nation of Liberia. Based on allegations of forced labor, forced child
labor, poor working conditions, and low wages, plaintiffs seek damages from the
Japanese, American, and Liberian companies and two individuals that own and
control the plantation. Plaintiffs seek relief in the federal courts of the United
States. Their twelve-count Complaint asserts claims under international law
pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, the Thirteenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution, a federal statute authorizing civil actions for
criminal forced labor violations, 18 U.S.C. § 1595, and California law.


The US District Court Judge in the case has allowed the case to proceed forward on the child labor accusations after reviewing the complaint. The claims made that bridgestone uses child labor and violates human/workers' rights aren't simply some wild accusations.


Also feel free to read the UN report of the exploitation of Liberian rubber and its people

http://unmil.org/documents/human_rights_liberiarubber.pdf

Rubber is one of the main exports of Liberia. The first plantation was established in 1906.
Bridgestone, the parent company of Firestone Plantation Company, owns the world’s largest
industrial rubber plantation which is located in Liberia. The plantation was established in
1926 in Harbel and covers an estimated 30 per cent of the total area under rubber cultivation.
From 1997 to 2002, the IMF has reported that rubber exports have increased rapidly from
19,4 million USD to an estimated 57,4 million USD, despite falling international rubber
prices during this period. Rubber production accounted for an estimated 99,569 tonnes in
2002.28 Most of the rubber produced is exported and only limited rubber processing (in
Firestone and Liberian Agriculture Company) is undertaken in Liberia. However, the sector
is reportedly on the verge of collapse as many of the plantations are coming to the end of
their productive life and replanting has not been conducted.29


FAWUL estimates that 60-65 per cent of children are not in school because they were not
registered with the company by their parents.100 In Firestone and LAC plantations,
subcontractors, who comprise a large part of the workforce, are not considered employees
within the scope of the respective collective bargaining agreements.101 As a result, their
dependants are not registered and are thus not entitled to social benefits provided by the
company, although they live within the concession area and make up a sizeable portion of the
workforce.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #15
239
0
I do wish the US goverment would realise this sometimes.

There was a similair campaing in the UK to boycott the oil company BP - it was using private armies in Africa to kill people protesting agaist oil exploration - the protest cost them a few 0.00000% of their profits.

Don't even get me started on big oil....
 
  • #16
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bbc said:
Firestone, owned by the Bridgestone Corporation, does not run these plantations, but it is accused of buying rubber from them.
So the theft is being carried out by the former combatants, and Firestone is being accused of acting as a fence for the stolen goods. But Firestone denies the charges.

bbc said:
Liberian Agriculture Minister Christopher Toe said the government had been reassured that Firestone had not bought materials from the sites, but that this was now in doubt.

Once the evidence is made public, we will know if Firestone is lying. However, in the meantime, I take it the combatants are selling the rubber, we just aren't completely sure who they are selling it to. I assume, of course, that those who call for stiff punishment have stopped driving their cars until this can be sorted out. Right?
 
  • #17
731
6
Hmm. I need new tires. Wonder how much I'll save on Firestones.
 
  • #18
348
0
Ok, and you can probably boycott everything else made in India, Mexico, and China while your at it.

Id like to know more about the companies involvement before I pass judgement. So far, it seems they simply bought a product. I dont see any knowledge or support of these places by firestone in the article.

Altho there are human rights violations in these countries (I think since you mentioned them), but nothing beats exploiting a country ravaged by civil war!!
 
  • #19
731
6
Altho there are human rights violations in these countries (I think since you mentioned them), but nothing beats exploiting a country ravaged by civil war!!

Yeah, nothing beats it.
I get such a rush when I exploit those ravaged countries. Nothing beats it.
 

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